Five Recent Films That Garnered Unwarranted Criticism

Friday, 26 November 2010 20:35 Written by  Matt Molgaard
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Five Recent Films That Garnered Unwarranted Criticism

Opinions will always vary, that’s a simple rule of life that isn’t ever going to change unless we all become overtaken by out-of-this-world pod people, which probably won’t happen in my lifetime. Varying opinions often play pivotal roles in the success or failure of feature films; one negative review can turn a potential viewer into a hesitant passer by. A single good review can spark a campaign of positivity that carries over into major dollar signs.

Regardless, it’s important to remember that one must make his or her own mind up as to what they do or don’t enjoy. And that’s the exact reasoning behind this list; to let you know, don’t put all your faith in a single opinion, unless it’s your own.

These five films received plenty of criticism from Hollywood insiders, and in truth, there isn’t much merit to a whole lot of that negativity.

#5 - Donkey Punch: Yes, this film is a bit raunchy, and in a whole lot of places at that, but I’ll be damned if it’s the dud so many critics make it out to be. Sure the gratuitous male nudity is tough to handle, but there’s a chilling story behind all the flopping genitals we’re exposed to, and, let‘s be real, women have been dealing with unnecessary female nudity for decades, it‘s man‘s turn finally, and we should be able to handle it. The biggest key to this film that seems to go unnoticed on a regular basis, is the palpable sense of tension and frantic fear at work. The panic feels extremely genuine, and for this particular viewer, it really climbed under the skin. Keep an eye out for Julian Morris, who does a fantastic job as the film’s vile Josh.

#4 - The Runaways: This flick received plenty of praise from critics, but for every one positive review, you’ll spot two negatives. Floria Sigismondi does a fair job of remaining true to the story of Joan Jett and Cherie Currie, but it’s both Dakota Fanning and Kristen Stewart’s performances that leave a lasting impression in my mind. Michael Shannon’s depiction of quirky (or insane, as some would say) producer Kim Fowley should not go unmentioned either, as his performance easily exceeds convincing. A fantastic soundtrack tops off what is actually an excellent, and highly underrated film. If any negative criticisms have left you feeling cautious of this picture, throw those notions out the window and give this one a try, it’s an extremely good piece of work.

#3 - Legion: What happens when God loses faith in man? He sends out a legion of angels to wipe out the human race. It’s an interesting approach to religious horror, but it’s executed with refined precision. The dialogue is great, and Paul Bettany is absolutely perfect (and haunting, might I add) as the rogue angel Michael, who ultimately acts as the films true hero. Some sound special effects and creepy atmosphere make this one a must see, despite what some may have lead you to believe. And hey, it’s got Dennis Quaid in a featured role for Heaven’s sake, how are you going to go wrong?

#2 - The Box: Why this movie was practically burned upon release is beyond me. Most pundits would have you believe this is the most boring film produced in the history of cinema. However, that’s far from true. The entire picture is really rather engaging, and while character development is traditionally covered in the first half of a film, director Richard Kelly never stops developing each focal figure in The Box. Despite what you may have heard, this one is no snooze fest, James Marsden carries the film in fine fashion, and Cameron Diaz actually offers some of her greatest work to date. The characters are believable, the pacing is impressive (forget what you’ve read, the film doesn’t slow to a crawl beyond the opening sequences, as many a critic would have you believe), and the emotional impact of the film really does resonate long after the credits roll. This one is just as melancholy as it is creepy, and if you’re in touch with humanity in even the slightest capacity, you’ll likely enjoy this harrowing tale.

#1 - A Nightmare On Elm Street (remake): Anytime you attempt to remake what most consider a classic, you face an uphill battle that is not likely to yield much praise. Such is the case with this years A Nightmare On Elm Street reboot. Purists leaped to write this one off as quickly as it arrived and, well, I’m here to tell you that the “purists” can take a flying leap, this one hit’s the mark on many levels. First off, Jackie Earle Haley is terrific as the iconic Freddy Krueger. The dialogue is handled with genuine care, and what would have once been way over-the-top one liners are delivered as terrifying quips that conjure goose bumps rather than maniacal laughter. The makeup work is brilliant, and far closer to what you’d expect to see from an actual burn victim (than the make-up displayed in Wes Craven’s 1984 original). This new ensemble of youngsters do quite a fine job; Kyle Gallner really shines in particular, as does the talented Rooney Mara, who plays Nancy. The pacing is a little strange upon initial viewing, but having revisited the film, things run a whole lot smoother than I initially perceived. And, ignore critical qualms about the film’s character development; our key individuals are fleshed out just fine, and anyone arguing that is reaching for something to criticize that just isn’t there.

Got a film in mind that I might have missed? Let us know in the comment section below!

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